The Ragpicker
c. 1865-1870
Édouard Manet (French, 1832-1883)
On View

The Ragpicker represents one of the practitioners of a now-obsolete profession that involved sifting through the detritus of daily life—not only rags, which were sold to paper manufacturers—but also kitchen scraps, soap and other castoffs that were left out for trash collectors. Sorting garbage might sound like work for the truly destitute, but these scavengers were regulated, semiprofessional recyclers of city waste, and they were seen as a discrete social type, one that was free from the restrictions and inhibitions of a traditional bourgeois lifestyle.

Manet, who was experiencing his own sense of alienation and rejection from established art circles, may have identified with his embattled subject. Both artist and ragpicker could be seen as bohemians who operated on the margins and earned a living by making use of the stuff of everyday life. The small still-life element in the lower foreground of this painting, a pile of opened oyster shells, coupled with a broken champagne bottle and lemon peels, may symbolize this shared creative act.


  • Artist Name: Édouard Manet (French, 1832-1883)
  • Title: The Ragpicker
  • Date: c. 1865-1870
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 76-3/4 x 51-1/2 in. (194.9 x 130.8 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1968.09.P
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

The artist, sold 1871-72 for Ff. 1000 to;
[Durand-Ruel, Paris, for Ff. 1500 to];
Ernest Hoschedé (1837-1890), Paris (sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 5-6 June 1878, lot 45, as Le Mendiant, for Ff. 800 to);
Duquesne, Paris.
Fernand Crouan, Nantes, by 1884.
Adolf Rothermundt, Blasewitz (near Dresden), by 1906-1921.
[Paul Cassirer, Berlin].
Josef Stransky (1872-1936), New York, 1921.
Adolph Lewisohn (d. 1938), New York, by 1926, to;
[Wildenstein & Co., New York and Paris, by 1931].
[Wildenstein & Co., New York, reacquired ca. 1950, later sold to];
H., Geneva (Mr. Schlepfer), by 1964 until at least 1967;
[Wildenstein & Co., New York, sold March, 1968 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

Paintings by French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists

  • Toledo Museum of Art, 1937-11-07 to 1937-12-12

Manet: Three Paintings from the Norton Simon Museum

  • The Frick Collection, 2019-10-16 to 2020-01-05

Manet's "Ragpicker"

  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), 2009-05-21 to 2009-09-07

[on loan]

  • Princeton University Art Museum, 1980-12-11 to 1981-07-14

[on loan]

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1969-01 to 1972-09

[on loan]

  • New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1968-03 to 1969-01

Chefs-d'oeuvre des collections suisses de Manet à Picasso

  • Paris, Musée de l'Orangerie, 1967 to 1967

Chefs-d'oeuvre des collections suisses de Manet à Picasso

  • Lausanne, Palais de Beaulieu, 1964 to 1964

The Two Sides of the Medal: French Painting from Gérôme to Gauguin

  • Detroit Institute of Arts, 1954 to 1954

Honderd Jaar Fransche Kunst

  • Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1938-07-02 to 1938-09-25

Edouard Manet 1832-1883: A Retrospective Loan Exhibition for the Benefit of the French Hospital and the Lisa Day Nursery

  • Wildenstein & Co. (New York, N.Y.), 1937-03-19 to 1937-04-17

Independent Painters of Nineteenth Century Paris

  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1935-03-15 to 1935-04-28

Manet and Renoir

  • Pennsylvania Museum of Art, 1933-11-29 to 1934-01-01

Manet: 1832-1883

  • Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, 1932-06 to 1932-07

Loan Exhibition of French Painting 1800-1880

  • City Art Museum of St. Louis, 1931-01 to 1931-01

Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Opening of the Albright Art Gallery

  • Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, 1930-11-16 to 1930-12-14

Elfte Ausstellung der Berliner Secession

  • Secession Ausstellungshaus, 1906 to 1906

Third Exhibition of the Society of French Artists

  • London, Durand-Ruel, 1872 to 1872

Exhibition of French Painting from the Fifteenth Century to the Present Day

  • California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1934-06-08 to 1934-07-08

Édouard Manet 1832-1883

  • Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1966-11-03 to 1966-12-11
  • Art Institute of Chicago, 1967-01-13 to 1967-02-19

Exposition des oeuvres d'Édouard Manet

  • Paris, École Nationale des Beaux-Arts, 1884-01-06 to 1884-01-28

Three Centuries of French Art: Selections from The Norton Simon, Inc. Museum of Art and The Norton Simon Foundation_1

  • California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1973-05-03 to 1976-06-15

Reinstallation of South Wing

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1993-10-07 to 1995-08-13
  • Hanson, Anne Coffin, Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, fig. 19 pp. 74,77
  • Art News, p. 11
  • McMahon, A. Philip, Parnassus, p. 8
  • Art Digest, p. 9
  • Florisoone, Michel, Manet, pp. 19, 21, 24
  • Tabarant, Adolphe, Manet et ses oeuvres, fig. 113 pp. 115-116, 323, 492, 536, 605
  • Pool, Phoebe and Sandra Orienti, The Complete Paintings of Manet, no. 97 p. 95
  • Venturi, Marcello and Sandra Orienti, L'opera pittorica di Edouard Manet, no. 97 p. 95
  • Bodelsen, Merete, The Burlington Magazine, no. 45 pp. 339-340
  • New York Times, sec. 9, pt. 1
  • Rouart, Denis; and Sandra Orienti, Tout l'oeuvre peint d'Edouard Manet, no. 96 p. 95
  • Rouart, Denis; and Daniel Wildenstein, Edouard Manet: Catalogue raisonné, no. 137
  • Weisberg, Gabriel P., Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, fig. 12 pp. 286, 287
  • Tabarnat, Adolphe, Manet, no. 37 p. 33
  • Steadman, David W., The Connoisseur, Color pl. A p. 222
  • Darragon, Éric, Manet, fig. 121
  • Stevenson, Lesley, Manet, pp. 104-105
  • Watson, Forbes, Arts, pp. 18, 31
  • Duret, Théodore, Histoire d'Édouard Manet et son oeuvre. Avec un catalogue des peintures et des pastels, no. 95
  • Rosenhagen, Hans, Die Kunst für Alle, pp. 434, 442
  • Waldmann, Emil, Edouard Manet, pp. 35, 46
  • Lambert, E., Gazette des Beaux-Arts, fig. 13 p. 375
  • Venturi, Lionello, L'Arte, p. 154
  • Tabarant, Adolphe, Manet: Histoire catalographique, no. 106 pp. 146-147, 578
  • Jamot, Paul and Georges Wildenstein, Manet, vol. I, pp. 89, 137, no. 153; vol. II pl. 22, fig. 45 pp. 89, 137
  • Shimada, Norio, The History of Impressionism, p. 98
  • Moreau-Nélaton, Étienne, Catalogue manuscrit de l'oeuvre de Manet, 1906, no. 117
  • Duret, Théodore, Manet and the French Impressionists, 1910, no. 85 p. 224
  • Meier-Græfe, Julius, Edouard Manet, 1923, fig. 48
  • Moreau-Nélaton, Étienne, Manet reconté par lui-même, 1926, vol. I, p. 109, no. 44, fig. 121; vol. II, pp. 47, 128, fig. 339 p 109; pp. 47, 128
  • Duret, Théodore, Histoire d'Edouard Manet et son oeuvre avec un Catalogue des Peintures et des Pastels, 1926, no. 95 p. 248
  • Bourgeois, Stephan, The Adolph Lewisohn Collection of Modern French Paintings and Sculptures, with an Essay on French Painting During the Nineteenth Century and Notes on Each Artist's Life and Works", 1928, p. 67
  • Wilenski, R. H., French Painting, 1931, p. 245
  • Venturi, Lionello, Les archives de l'Impressionnisme, 1939, vol. II, no. 95 p. 190
  • Mélikian, Souren; and Daniel Wildenstein, Réalités, 1967, p. 76
  • Caby, Robert, Bulletin de la Société d'études pour la connaissance d'Édouard Manet, 1968, no. 3 p. 5
  • Alpers, Svetlana, New Literary History, 1976, fig. 14 pp. 36, 37
  • Hanson, Anne Coffin, Manet and the Modern Tradition, 1977, p. 65
  • Daulte, François, La Revue du Louvre et des musées de France, 1988, p. 143
  • Herbert, Robert L., Impressionism: Art, Leisure, and Parisian Society, 1988, fig. 64 p. 63
  • Alpers, Svetlana, Rembrandt's Enterprise: The Studio and the Market, 1988, fig. 3.48 p. 79
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, 1989, p. 123
  • Perutz, Vivien, Édouard Manet, 1993, p. 67
  • Brombert, Beth Archer, Edouard Manet: Rebel in a Frock Coat, 1996, pp. 106, 306
  • Brettell, Richard R. and Stephen F. Eisenman, Nineteenth-Century Art in the Norton Simon Museum, volume 1, 2006,
  • Leibowitz, J.R., Hidden Harmony: The Connected Worlds of Physics and Art, 2008, Plate 20 p. 107
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 433 p. 297
  • James H. Rubin, Edouard Manet: Initiale M, L'Oeil, Une Main, 2011, Fig. 57 p. 132
  • Andrés Úbeda, et al, Georges de La Tour, 2016, Fig. 53 p.# 75,p.# 179
  • Art Institute of Chicago, Manet: Paintings and Works on Paper at the Art Institute of Chicago, 2017, fig. 10-11.7 referenced and image included in unnumbered pages in essay for Cat. 10-11
  • Hecker, Sharon, Un monumento al momento. Medardo Rosso e le origini internazionali della sculpture contemporanea, 2017, 15 pp. 53-54
  • Pullins, David, Manet: Three Paintings From the Norton Simon Museum, 2019, fig. 16 p. 6, 11, 14, 17, pp. 43-61, pp. 80-81, p. 93; p. 2 (ill.), p. 42 (ill.), p. 80 (ill.)
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Additional Artwork by Artist

Madame Manet Édouard Manet 1874-1876
Still Life with Fish and Shrimp Édouard Manet 1864

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